How to Convince City Hall: Professional Grant Writing Training Is Worth Every Penny

Image: JLS Photography -
Image: JLS Photography –

Public Safety Grant News and Tips by Kurt Bradley, Certified Grants Consultant

You get what you pay for

There are two old sayings that state: “You get what you pay for” and “you have to spend a little money, to make a lot of money.” These statements ring especially true in grant writing.

The value of formal training and professional instruction in grant writing cannot be emphasized enough. So how do you convince your governing bodies and administrative officials that grant training is a wise worthwhile investment of your limited training dollars?

In the public safety profession, we are constantly being held to standards requiring certification. Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMTs all have to go through long hours of formal instruction in order to meet the certification requirements of our various states. Most of us also have to continue this education process throughout our career, in order to stay proficient and maintain those certifications.

How much time and money do you spend trying to maintain those certifications? If you are like most departments, a portion of your annual budgets go to “training funds”. We routinely spend thousands of dollars annually in assuring that our personnel are professional in everything that they do and that they have the certifications needed to prove that point. This reduces the governing body’s liability exposure.

Ask yourself a question though. How much money has your city or agency expended to assure themselves of having supplemental budget money to carry out operations, for training, equipment and expansion of services? If you are reading this article, the answer is probably “not much”.

If you don’t play, you can’t win!

An effective grants program strategy for a public safety agency should be a priority in every agency. Unfortunately, grant writing is usually given a low priority until a crisis situation develops. This should never be the case in your agency. The continual and persistent search for grant monies should be at the top of every chief’s or agency head’s financial strategy. This is especially true under the current economic crisis we are facing which is demanding us to do more, with less.

Why do you continually risk not having enough money in your budget to cover these items, when literally there are millions of dollars a year available for you to receive? It is like playing the lottery: “If you don’t play, you can’t win”!

Get the training, to get the grant, to get the gear

The first strategy to apply to your grants program is to assure that you have a trained, informed person working for you when pursuing grants.

The return on investment for sending an individual to receive professional grant writing training is enormous. Our students and clients have an 80% success rate and have an average Return on Investment (ROI) rate of 100:1 within the first year after attending our training. It is not unusual for a student to recoup over 100 times what was originally spent for grant writing training, in the very first grant award they receive after attending.

You must maximize your efforts at receiving a grant award by training someone to fully know and understand the process; and then give them access to professional consulting services, thereby giving your organization the “competitive edge” advantage in this extremely competitive arena of grants.

One grant writer can bring thousands of funding dollars

A well-trained grant writer can, on average, bring in thousands of dollars per year to your agency and we can provide the references to prove it. This is a fact that needs to be “force fed” to local governments and agency heads who often times scoff at expending just a couple of hundred dollars to send an individual to a professional school to become a grant writer.

Ask your citizens if they would rather you spend $3,000 on sending two of your commissioners to a retreat or send an individual to training for less than $1,000 who could bring back a return of 100 times that amount, in just one grant. That, my friends, does not take a Harvard MBA to figure out!

Not only do you recover the cost of the training itself but, you assure yourself of a continuing source of funding for many, many years to come. You cannot ignore the documentable facts here! Ask any agency who has an on-staff professionally trained grants writer how much that person is worth. Just about any agency will tell you that their grant writer is a KEY person in the agency, and for good reason.

I encourage you to make use of the training courses offered by First Responder Grants. We can make a real difference in your agency’s quest to obtain supplemental funding.

Find and train the right person

Part of our services is to train you how to have an effective grants program within your department or agency. The first thing for you to do is to get someone within your agency professionally trained.

You should make a concerted effort to locate someone in your organization that has an interest in learning the “art of grant writing,” and then do everything in your power to encourage them. When you locate that individual, you should look for training that is offered by organizations whose specialties are in grant writing training for Public Safety Agencies and First Responders. Send them to our training and start maximizing the return on your dollars spent.

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